Research – Escher & Transitioning image

While thinking about the notion of a transitioning image, the first visual reference that came to mind was the work of M. C. Escher. Upon trying to find more artists who use a transitioning image in there work, so far I have found very few and yet countless works by Escher kept appearing.


Sky and Water

This was the first piece by Escher that immediately came to mind, which I am particularly familiar with as my mother used to have a notebook with this pattern on the cover. The idea is deceptively simple, with the black birds against the white background of the sky gradually transition into pictures of white fish against a black background of the sea. I think this is one of the elements I like most about this image, not only the changing of subject matter from fish to bird, but the use of the background as becoming part of the image. This combination of two elements (in this case the colours black and white) could work well in terms of medium, with my medals being made in bronze and ceramic.


Metamorphosis II 01 - M. C. Escher

Metamorphosis II 01 – M. C. Escher

This is another excellent example by Escher of a transitioning image, which not only moves from one stage to another, but through a whole sequence of different images which are all clear and distinct from one another in a fashion that is smooth and natural. This is exactly what I would like to be able to capture in my work, however with the changes likely not being so extreme. I imagine the medals each having their own image, which is likely to be a variation on a theme which runs throughout the series but with a clear change of state on each medal. Using the idea of flowers as an example, each medal could have a particular type of flower pattern upon it (roses, lillies, etc) to signify a particular mood or experience, with one side perhaps being wilted, the other flowering. This then transitions to the next medal, which perhaps has the same, or a different type of flower, in a different state; they may be blooming, budding, withering etc. The main difficulty with this idea is making all images transition to each other, although this can likely be overcome by a shared boarder image by all the medals. As ever, it is very difficult to talk about these ideas in the abstract without any real motif to work with, and I can only hope that my issues with these ideas will become clearer in practice.

Scroll - M. C. Escher

Scroll – M. C. Escher

Another classic Escher style image, with a set of very basic shapes which slowly increase in complexity one stage at a time, until they become completely distinct and detailed illustrations. Altough I want to use a metamorphosing image, I would like to be able to avoid the formless stages and have each element of the image to be detailed illustrations. Perhaps this could be achieved by transitioning the shape of the image, as with “Sky and Water” and this example of “Scroll”, but the drawings inside the shapes remaining detailed and adapting to the shape.

changing tessellaytions

Here is a more mathematical approach to transitioning shapes, working almost in a kaleidoscope fashion changing the vectors of a shape so that it becomes another. While these types of interesting and demonstrate generally my idea, in practice I feel they are of little help as  they are clearly generated in a very mathematical formula, most likely having been run through a computer program. This likely will only then create shapes which while complex, are functionally meaningless and carry no real significance in their imagery aside from the fact that it is changing. If this is the case, I feel my medals would become very obtuse in their meaning and would likely be looked at more as an exploration of pattern and material than as a representation for the human and for the reflection of self.

pattern examples

Trying to illustrate my point purely with pattern alone had exactly this effect, of being entirely meaningless and representative of nothing. While I’m sure that with actual time and thought being put into the use of pattern it too could be effective, rather than my very quick and ill-concieved sketches. However, I certainly do not think it plays to my strengths as I am not drawn in any sense to the use of pattern in design, and do not enjoy the process of creating and drawing them in the same way that I enjoy illustrating imagery. It is imagery after all that my tutors encouraged me to encorporate more of into my work after looking at my sketchbook, and sticking purely to pattern would be a waste of my skills.


One Comment on “Research – Escher & Transitioning image”

  1. […] looking at the idea of interlocking medals, and in researching the work of M. C. Escher I stumbled on the term “tessellations”. A tessellating image consists of a series of […]

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